With this blog, I generally focus on 3-4 stories every weekday from around the world. My goal with the news roundup is to try and shine some light on some news stories that don’t necessarily dominate the news cycle (*ahem* Donald Trump) One of the things however I notice is that I tend to either be rather scattershot with my coverage. I tend to try and not overload each day with bad news, or if it is too dense, or the story is in the middle of development, I tend to pass over it. This means that I often will do one and done articles for an area.
I also tend to stick to certain areas of the world as well. I have reported a lot on South Korea, the UK, and parts of Europe. So, with that in mind, I wanted to do a slight “Whats going on?” in the different regions of the world, and perhaps give a “state of the game” for various regions I may or may not cover regularly.
I will start with the hardest one first. Obviously, the US dominates the North American news scene, and this is no different. The entire region is still coming to terms with the Trump Administration and the changes the new party in power brings with it. In Canada, they are wrestling a surge of Asylum seekers from the US since the election and the government is trying to figure out how to stem the tide before it becomes a problem. In the Caribbean, things are generally quiet, however nations in the area are reaching out to China to create a better relationship and travel. Mexico is fighting the US border wall idea while also reaching out to China for trade and fighting the drug cartels at home. Things are relatively quiet down in Central America as well.
South America has been in an interesting place for a bit. With Columbia becoming more stable, the FARC rebellion has come to an end, which has raged for 50 years, and is seen as a growing power in the region. Meanwhile Venezuela is on the verge of collapse, with a massively devaluating currency, food shortages, and political deadlock. People have started fleeing into neighbouring countries. Last week, the government went after Bread makers saying they were taking advantage of the food shortage and forced them to provide accessible bread, despite losing money. In Brazil, there has been massive corruption scandals in the country since last year, and last week saw a massive Meat packing scandal as 33 meat companies were found to be shipping raw and unsanitised meat around the world. This lead to a meat boycott from several nations, including China, Korea, and most nations in the EU.
There is a lot going on in Europe, so it may be wise to break some things down. I think I have spoken enough about the UK and Brexit and the potential Scottish Independence movement, part 2. For Mainland Europe, the story is almost definitely how big is the Right-Wing swing through the continent. Earlier this month we saw Dutch Politician Geert Wilders’s nationalist party take second in their elections, which was actually disappointing since he was leading in the polls in the weeks leading up to the vote. Next month sees Frances’ first round of voting, which has Marne Le Pen’s party being very strong, but trails the centre-left candidate. Refugees is still a big issue in Europe with Anti-Immigration being a big issue across the continent. Bulgaria and Greece have had strong anti-refugee sentiment, and have said they will not accept any more. Greece is also facing another Austerity crises with banks as it heads into another repayment period.
The other two issues for Europe is Turkey and Russia. Turkey is having a referendum next month to amend their constitution. The amendments will create an office of the Presidency and grant it a fair bit of power to the position. Current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is largely seen as an authoritarian and is using this referendum as a power grab to stay in power. Once the Prime Minister, Erdoğan has been consolidating power for years and many believe that the attempted coup last year was the event that allowed Erdoğan to go after political opponents and arrest any dissenters of his government. This is made more complicated by Erdoğan attacking European powers for pushing back against his authoritarianism despite trying to get into the EU. Russia seems to be all over the news so I won’t get into that too much, but Russia is pushing back against EU expansion, and has begun trying to re-create its buffer states to keep the balance of power.
Middle East/North Africa
The Middle East is, as always, a busy place. We have the Civil War/Regional War with Syria, with Russian, American, and other interests at play in the war torn country. Started during the Arab Spring, Syrias Civil War has brought in a lot of players. The Islamic State has been slowly collapsing in the area with Mosul, Aleppo, and other cities being retaken by US, Russian, Turkish, Syrian, Iraqi, and Kurdish forces. As there are so many players in this situation, there have bene incidents of friendly fire, but as the Islamic States falls further, the issue of post-war life is becoming a bigger issue for the other parties, who do not all agree with each other.
The other war that no one really is talking about is Yemen. Started in 2015, this Civil War is also a bit messy. Set between Yemen’s Shia led political group Houthis and the Sunni led Government, this war reignited in 2015 over governmental changes. The situation has taken the form of a Proxy war with Saudi Arabia (and the US) helping the Government while Iran is suspected with helping the Houthis. We occasionally hear about bombing or an action done in Yemen, this is why.
Building off of Yemen, there is also a massive famine developing in the country, as well as Somalia and South Sudan. UN and other health organisations have said that fighting in all of these countries, along with worsening weather conditions have created a perfect storm for the famine to take hold. Aid and other ways to prevent the famine cannot happen as war and tribal violence plague all of these countries.
Sub Sahara Africa
The major issue in Sub Sahara Africa seems to be the Congo. Over the past several months, large scale massacre and killings have been taking place in the rural parts of the country. The Kasai region last week say 40 police officers decapitated in a stunning escalation since fighting broke out last August. Also, two UN people were kidnapped and believed to be killed in a similar matter. a Planned election has not taken place and the violence is getting worse and worse, I suspect we will start seeing this in the news a lot more in the upcoming months.
Also in Sub Sahara Africa, we have Nigeria and the Boko Haram terrorist group. Boko Haram is most known for their kidnapping of 100’s of Nigerian school girls a couple of years ago. The organisation has had a string of defeats in the last year, and some close calls with their leader almost killed last year. While Boko Haram still claims legitimacy in the region, it capabilities have been greatly hampered by the Nigerian military.
Again, a huge region, and honestly, things are busy here, but I will give the major events.
North Korea is doing its thing again, ratcheting up threats in the region. Int he last few weeks they have launched, successfully and unsuccessfully, several missiles into the Sea of Japan, prompting Japan and South Korea to raise their rhetoric accordingly. China has cut off North Koreas Coal link to China as punishment. South Korea is in dissaray as its President was Impeached and removed from Office a few weeks ago. While this has been heavily covered by me, it is important to give it context within the North Korea Situation.
China has been making moves in the region to bolster its presence. In the South China Sea, China has taken more aggressive stances on territorial claims agains Taiwan and the Phillipines, while at the same time trying to woo countries into closer ties in the wake of the US’s shift away from the region. China is also mounting a massive Trade network with Pacific Countries to take advantage of the failed TPP from the US.
South Asia and India seem to be relatively quiet, with Myanmar being the only exception with the persecution of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group that is targeted by the Government. The usual unsettled violence in Pakistan and Afghanistan with the Taliban still continues with terrorist organisations working in both countries.
And finally, our corner of the world. The big news out of here is basically, Cyclone Debbie slamming into the Northern Queensland coast. Striking as a category 4 Cyclone, the storm wreaked havoc last night in the region. The storm quickly died down overnight, but is still slated to cause a lot of damage. There is not much news out of New Zealand or the Pacific Islands right now to be noteworthy on the world scale.
While I haven’t hit everything, (No Belarus, no Argentina for example), I just wanted to give a state of world politics at the moment. I may do these every occasionally, just so we can get a state of the world. I hope you are all well!
Ah, and finally, in honor of the title, 4 Non Blondes.